Sharing The Joy Of Dancing


Most of the articles I write are a result of what I am trying to teach my students. Recently I have been focusing a lot on lead/follow, connection, feeling, oneness, etc. (keeping the two headed - four-legged animal together).

One of the leaders biggest problems is moving without the follower, particularilary when he changes direction. For example: changing directions in a crossover breaks, in box steps, in hovers, in open breaks, in quick open reverses, etc. Basically, any where there is a direction change in Smooth or Latin dancing.

Typically the leader is so focused on the element or pattern, he forgets to take his partner with him. I have been trying to find an easy method to convey this basic concept of movement that would stay with the leader. Some how the words "There are no sharp edges when you partnership dance" came out of my mouth. Amazingly enough the student knew exactly what I meant. There was an immidiate change in his partnership movement. I have tried this with several of my male students and have had immediate results from all of them. Some how men relate to the phrase "No sharp edges". When I say it while they are dancing you can see them change.

What I am trying to fix is the leader changing directions and not allowing his partner enough time to respond to the lead. For example: when dancing a crossover break, the leader must feel his partner's weight change and the corresponding rebound out of the break before he continues with the pattern. It is common for the leader to be coming out of the crossover while the follower is still going into it.

In a simple waltz box the leader often moves forward or backward before the follower has completed the rise and fall action. A sharp corner is any movement by the leader that results in a jerking action between the partners (the follower is not allowed to complete the movement and is forced to change directions prematurely).

The words "No sharp edges" or "Round off all of the sharp corners and make them soft" seems to communicate to the leader the right message. The partnership becomes stable and the leader seems more deliberate in his lead. The movement of the two headed, four-legged animal is definitely improved.